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Metagenomic assembly provides a deep insight into the antibiotic resistome alteration induced by drinking water chlorination and its correlations with bacterial host changes

Jia, Shuyu, Wu, Jialu, Ye, Lin, Zhao, Fuzheng, Li, Tong, Zhang, Xu-Xiang
Journal of hazardous materials 2019 v.379 pp. 120841
Acidovorax, Hyphomicrobium, Polaromonas, Pseudomonas alcaligenes, Sphingomonas, antibiotic resistance genes, antibiotics, chlorination, drinking water, drinking water treatment, health effects assessments, hosts, interspersed repetitive sequences, metagenomics, pathogens, resistance mechanisms, transportation, transporters
Chlorination can contribute to the enrichment of specific antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) in drinking water, but the underlying molecular ecological mechanisms remain unknown, which may hinder the assessment and control of the resulting health risks. In this study, metagenomic assembly and Resfams annotation were used to profile the co-occurrence patterns of ARGs, mobile genetic elements (MGEs) and their bacterial hosts, as well as the correlations of potential pathogens with the antibiotic resistome, in a full-scale drinking water treatment and transportation system. Seven ARG types involved in different resistance mechanisms occurred in drinking water and chlorination enhanced the total abundance of the ARGs (p < 0.05). The ARGs encoding resistance-nodulation-cell division and ATP-binding cassette antibiotic efflux pumps predominated in all the samples and were primarily responsible for the ARG accumulation. After chlorination, the ARGs were primarily carried by predominant Sphingomonas, Polaromonas, Hyphomicrobium, Acidovorax, Pseudomonas and Fluviicola. Further, enrichment of the bacterial hosts and MGEs greatly contributed to alteration of the antibiotic resistome. Pseudomonas alcaligenes, carrying multiple ARGs, was identified as a potential pathogen in the chlorinated drinking water. These findings provide novel insights into the host-ARG relationship and the mechanism underlying the resistome alteration during drinking water chlorination.